Hiking, Running and Touring Peru and Panama

Touring Peru, Hiking Machu Picchu & Running Lima

Machu Picchu (©Pedro Szekely/Flickr via CC BY-SA 2.0 license)

Buen viaje! I’m off for a 12-day trip touring Peru and Panama! It’s a last-minute adventure—and by last-minute, I mean my husband, Phil, and I decided on the vacation and booked our flights exactly one week ago. We still don’t have all of our hotels sorted. Details, details.

What’s important is that we’re going to straight to Machu Picchu, which has been on my lifetime bucket list as long as I can remember. I’ve written about the Inca Trail Marathon in the past, and while we booked too late to hike the trail (trail passes sell out months in advance), we’ll still get to tour the ruins and hike one of the mountains around the ancient Inca citadel.

After Machu Picchu, we’ll spend a few days in Cuzco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the capital of the Inca empire. With Machu Picchu at nearly 8,000 ft. and Cuzco at 11,200 ft., Phil and I keep joking that we’re altitude training for the upcoming GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco leading up to Philly. We’re just hoping we don’t get altitude sickness like so many people I know. (Shout-out to running and blogging friend, Elle at a Fast Paced Life, who just went to Peru, too.)


Maraton RPP Scotiabank in Lima

Then we head to Lima for one last Peruvian adventure: running the Maratón RPP Scotiabank. After we’d already settled on Peru and come up with a tentative itinerary, in my usual way, I started Googling to see if there were any races going on when we’d be around. I found three: The Panamericana Running 10K and 5K in Cuzco, The Terry Fox Run 5K/10K in Lima and the Maratón RPP Scotiabank in Lima.

Rather than put ourselves through a race at elevation in Cuzco, we got really excited about the idea of the Maratón RPP Scotiabank, which bills itself as the largest running race in Peru with 20,000 registrants. Contrary to the name, it’s not a full 26.2-miles race, but an event with half-marathon and 10K options. Obviously, Phil and I were in. More on that later…

Since we are flying Copa Air through Panama, and Copa Air allows free stopovers in Panama City, we decided to end the trip in the land that connects North America and South, the Caribbean to the Pacific. We’ll spend two nights in Panama City and two nights on the beach in the Gulf of Panama. Yep, I can’t get Van Halen’s “Panama” out of my head. Especially now that I’m sitting in the Panama City airport surrounded by stands selling Panama hats.

I’ve never been to either Peru or Panama. Excited? Crazy excited! We’re hiking, running, touring and relaxing in two countries that have long been on my radar. Perfecto.

Adiós, amigos!

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


09 2014

24 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    I’m so excited for you and Phil! Ben and I actually saw ads for those races in Cuzco when we’re there. So jealous that you get to experience it. Cuzco is an amazingly fun city and we were a little sad that we got so little time there. Enjoy it to the fullest for us. Can’t wait to read about your adventures.
    Elle recently posted..21st Annual Newport Liberty Half Marathon in Jersey CityMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks! We will do our best to enjoy Cuzco for you. It’s hard when you’re trekking…it really cuts into your touring time. Booking so late made the decision not to trek easy–it wasn’t an option. So we’re doing 3 nights in Cuzco. We should really be able to dig into it!

  2. 3

    I have never been to any place in South or Central America so I am excited to see all your pictures.
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted..Changing PerceptionsMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      I’ve just started exploring South and Central America in recent years. I’ve been to Argentina, Uruguay, and Belize. After loving all those places (and loving the lack of jet lag) my husband and I decided to start doing more trips there. So far I’m loving Peru!

  3. Pam #

    We visited Machu Picchu a few years ago with a National Geographic tour and climbed Huayna Picchu next to Machu Picchu. We had to sign a register before and after the hike, because they keep track and only allow a certain number of hikers at a time. Be sure to do this for awesome views over the ruins. There is a beautiful orchid garden at the Sanctuary Lodge right by the ruins where we stayed. If nothing else have a drink at the property! Peru is a fascinating country and we loved our visit. Unfortunately, I was not a runner at the time, so no advice on where to enjoy a trail or street run.
    Pam recently posted..Weekly Roundup: Sept 14thMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks for the recs! All of the Huayana Picchu tickets were sold out when we bought our Machu Picchu passes (since we literally planned this trip last week). But we hiked Montana Machu Picchu instead and got incredible views over the ruins and Huayana Picchu, too. We also popped into the Sanctuary Lodge on your recommendation! Lovely spot, and I had one of the best chicken salad sandwiches of my life!

  4. 7

    What an exciting spur of the moment trip! Looking forward to reading about it!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted..Your Race Recaps! 9/12My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks! As we were walking around Machu Picchu today, we kept saying, “We can’t believe we’re here!” It was so sudden that I didn’t have time to mentally prepare. It didn’t seem real!

  5. 9

    So JEALOUS!!!!! Have such an amazing incredible time!!!! :)
    Kellie recently posted..Save the Maelstrom!My Profile

  6. 11

    Have a safe trip and an absolute BLAST! Maccu Picchu has been on my bucket list for years as well so I cannot wait to hear about it and see all your pics! Enjoy the race as well…sounds so fun!

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you! After visiting Machu Picchu today I can tell you this: move it to the top of your bucket list and go. Absolutely phenomenal!

  7. 13

    I haven’t been to Peru yet (dying to hike Macchu Picchu though!), but I did a trip to Panama a few years ago and it was one of my favorite places. It’s so beautiful, and it shares the same tropical rain forest as Costa Rica. It’s great, though, because it’s not quite as developed and touristy as Costa Rica so you can really explore the jungle if you want to. We saw tons of animals, the famous native Red Frogs at Bastimentos, a really crazy bat cave, a cool native village, and tons of other fun stuff. Also, there is a fab running path that goes right along the water in Panama City so if you are staying in the city just ask your concierge and they can point you to it. It’s so gorgeous to run along the water and there’s a great city view as well. Have a blast!
    Kathryn @ Chicks Dig Running recently posted..Music MondayMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks for the tips! Sadly, we don’t have the time allotted to get deep into the rain forest, but I can’t wait to run that path in Panama City! We’re already talking about planning a trip to go back there if we like it, so we can see more of the country. While researching the trip, Panama looked amazing!

  8. 15

    Have a GREAT trip, can’t wait to read all about it!!
    Laura @losingrace recently posted..The Hay is in the Barn, or something like that.My Profile

  9. 17

    Enjoy, it sounds amazing! Can’t wait to see the pics and hear all about it!
    Diann recently posted..Glute Strengthener, A Playlist Fit for Rocky, Oiselle Fashion Show, and MoreMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      So far it has been amazing. Thanks!

  10. 19

    What the whaaaaa? That’s awesome! I’m jeally. I’ve been following along on Instagram. Keep living the dream!
    scott recently posted..Run + Taco + Soccer + Yoga + Celeb + Swan BalloonMy Profile

  11. 21

    Oh wow!!! Machu Picchu has been on my to-do list for a long time so I will be eagerly following along your journey and picking up any tips!! Can’t wait to see pictures and hear about your trip!
    Emily recently posted..Dumbo Double Dare 2014: Disneyland 10KMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      It’s a really amazing place. I’m posting some pics on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, but saving lots for some posts when I have time after the trip. I’ll be sure in include all the tips I’ve picked up along the way!

  12. 23

    I see from Twitter that you’re having a fantstic holiday. Exciting! Running the Maratn RPP Scotiabank is a great idea too. Looking forward to the race report!
    Ewen recently posted..How to break 3 hours for the marathon on ten miles a weekMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks, Ewen! I’m looking forward to experiencing the race…if my calves cooperate. They’re totally shot from hiking! Thank goodness for compression socks!


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